[ExI] Symbol Grounding

Giovanni Santostasi gsantostasi at gmail.com
Mon Apr 24 20:38:56 UTC 2023

*For which opinion, I think, there might be many reasons offered: but that
being besides my present business, I shall not trouble my reader with them;
but only mind him, that the contrary supposition, if it could be proved, is
of little use, either for the improvement of our knowledge, or conveniency
of life, and so we need not trouble ourselves to examine it."*

*-- John Locke in "An Essay Concerning Humane Understanding" (1690)*
Yeah, this is what I was trying to say to Brent many times, it is a useless
question anyway. Even if one did this experiment it will not tell us
anything about consciousness.

 * Would you agree that consciousness is dependent on the quality of
redness and greenness. *
I don't agree at all. Redness and greeness are complex processes, they
exist because consciousness exists. Consciousness probably was developed in
order for the individual to be aware of the presence of certain signals
like the redness of ripe fruit. It is an emergent property. Also, all this
business of redness and greeness is made of feedback loops in the sense
that yes we have perceptions and we are conscious of them but also our
state of consciousness affects perception. It is clear to me that redness
is not just the 1 to 1 response to the presence of light in a given range
of frequencies given the color illusion experiments shown in the video I
linked. It is a very high level interpretation (like words or concepts are)
of visual information the brain receives. It considers lighting conditions,
the object we are looking at (in fact if it is a fruit we are familiar
with, implying language influences our perception of the world), the
surrounding colors (indicating that there is not such a thing as a pixel of
redness) and the internal state of the brain itself (being tired, having
taken drugs, being a child or an adult). Once and forever there is not such
a thing as redness that you can pinpoint in a brain and say "This is it,
this is Brent redness !".
At most, you can say "when Brent sees a real strawberry these regions of
the brain are activated in this order", or "when Brent sees an optical
illusion of the brain these other regions of the brain are activated". It
is obvious they have to be different regions even if the sensation is
similar at the level of higher interpretation. This is the only interesting
type of scientific question one can ask, how the brain arrives at the same
conclusion under such very different (in fact opposite conditions, a
grey-colored pixel creating in the brain a red sensation). It is
interesting to understand how the brain process information but it is
really not earth-shaking in terms of understanding what consciousness is.


On Mon, Apr 24, 2023 at 1:12 PM Brent Allsop via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> Hi Jason,
> On Mon, Apr 24, 2023 at 12:37 PM Jason Resch via extropy-chat <
> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>> "To summarize: We have established that if absent qualia are possible,
>> then fading qualia are possible; if inverted qualia are possible, then
>> dancing qualia are possible; and if absent qualia are possible, then
>> dancing qualia are possible. But it is impossible that fading qualia are
>> possible, and it is extremely implausible that dancing qualia are possible.
>> It is therefore extremely implausible that absent qualia and inverted
>> qualia are possible. It follows that we have good reason to believe that
>> the principle of organizational invariance is true, and that functional
>> organization fully determines conscious experience."
>> -- David Chalmers in "The Conscious Mind" (1996)
> I thought I already pointed out that in order to establish any of this,
> the substitution must succeed.  But we are predicting that, when they get
> to the first one or more neurons, which is responsible for the first pixel
> of redness subjective experience, one will not be able to substitute
> anything different than redness, and get the subjective to experience
> redness, for that pixel.  I know functionalists think this is logically
> impossible, since the output of the neuron being replaced, will be the
> same.  But there are logical problems with this assumption that neurons
> only work like small discrete logic gates, and the way the neuro
> substitution sleight of hand (directing people away form what matters), is
> done.
> But before we head down that rabbit hole, let me ask you this, to be we
> are at least on the same page at this level.  Would you agree that
> consciousness is dependent on the quality of redness and greenness.  And
> that if you inverted redness and greenness (and all the associated
> dictionaries and memories of the same), it could still function the same,
> as in say the strawberry is red, but it would answer the question: "What is
> redness like for you." differently.  In other words, would you agree that
> phenomenal consciousness is substrate dependent on the particular
> qualities, on which the composite experience is composed?
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